Iraq: detained, displaced rise along with “surge”

The New York Times reports Aug. 25: “The number of detainees held by the American-led military forces in Iraq has swelled by 50 percent under the troop increase ordered by President Bush, with the inmate population growing to 24,500 today from 16,000 in February, according to American military officers in Iraq.” A smaller AP story published the same day stated: “The number of Iraqis who have fled their homes under threat of sectarian violence has more than doubled since the start of the year, despite the increase in American troops that began in February, a humanitarian aid organization said Saturday. The number of displaced Iraqis has shot upward from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization.”

The headline on the AP story, as it appeared in the International Herald Tribune (the NY Times’ overseas edition), was “Spike seen in displaced Iraqis seen despite U.S. troop buildup.” First of all, why doesn’t the IHT hire some copy-editors who can catch an obvious redundancy? But more to the point: Why “despite” rather than “because of”?

See our last posts on Iraq, the refugee crisis and the detainment scandal.